Eastern CT Symphony Orchestra Concert - Haydn & Stravinsky Finale

The guiding motif of the ECSO’s April 27 concert, the last of its 2023-24 season at the Garde, is a magical bird consumed and reborn in fire: the phoenix of Greek mythology. With the rise of Christianity, the phoenix became a symbol of the resurrection. In this connection, the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Chorus, led by Music Director Dr. Daniel McDavitt, will perform Joseph Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass. Written in 1798, the piece was originally called Missa in angustiis (Mass for Troubled Times), as Napoleon had repeatedly defeated Austria in the months prior. Yet Austria was to recover, phoenix-like, following Napoleon’s defeat at the Battle of the Nile by Admiral Horatio Nelson’s British forces.

Over time, the piece took on Nelson’s name in honor of that victory. Music Director & Conductor, Toshiyuki Shimada will then take the podium for the remainder of the concert. Three short works will follow. First, Phoenix will be performed, a dramatic piece by Dan Perttu, a music theory and composition professor at Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania. Next on the program is a work by beloved ECSO Personnel Manager and trumpet player, Richard Dumas; his Higher Than High tune dedicated to his wife Julie has been arranged by his son Curtis Dumas, as a tribute to him in his memory and honor. To close out the first half, the audience will be transported by Fawkes the Phoenix, a theme from John Williams’s score for the 2002 film Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

The concert and the season will conclude not with a phoenix but with its counterpart from Russian fairy tales, the firebird. The 1919 Firebird Suite is one of three concert versions of the mystery-rich, episodic music composed by Igor Stravinsky for the Firebird ballet, presented in Paris in 1910 by Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes.